African Violet

15 May

I love African Violets.   Last year, they did not love me though.  When I first moved to Illinois, I was intent on getting new plants.  I could not bring my other plants with me when I moved, so I had the need to find some new ones.  Every floral shop that I went to did not have African Violets.  I was so disappointed.  One day, my colleague was bringing me around town to introduce me to people.  We stopped at the florist she used.  I noticed that there were two African Violets on the counter.  I asked the florist if they sold them.  She said: “Just take them.”  At the time, both plants did not have blooms.  However, after some sun, repotting, and nurturing the plants began to flourish.

I always kept the violets on my windowsill near my desk because it was such a sunny spot. One day, I forgot to fasten my window properly.  It was early October, and we had our first frost of the fall.  When I came in the next day, to my horror, the plants were frozen.  I was so upset. I managed to save two leaves from both violets. I quickly did a search on the internet about rooting African Violets. I placed them in water at first.  When I saw a series of roots weeks later, I planted the leaves in soil.  One month passed by, I did not see any activity in the form of new leaves.  Two months passed- still nothing.  I couldn’t understand why nothing was happening.  After all, the leaves looked so healthy and green.  The plant got plenty of sun, and I wasn’t overwatering it.  I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. One would expect to see something happening by now.  After four months passed, I decided to throw away the plants. After all, I had friends who brought me two new African Violets which were flourishing.  A funny thing happened. I pulled out one of the leaves halfway and saw three new ones!  I gently pushed the leaves back in.  Within the week the new growth started to appear.

I thought: “Isn’t the way that we are with God?  Sometimes we feel that our lives are at a standstill.  We feel as if we are moving in the right direction with regards to ministry, our relationship with God, our relationships with others, and other aspects in our lives.  Yet, we still don’t see the growth that is expected.  We ask: “Aren’t I doing the work that is required?  God why aren’t you moving?”

Sometimes, part of the problem lies in our expectations of God.  The scriptures remind us in Isaiah 55:8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” So our answer is to either try to fix it, start over, or try to hurry God up.  Meanwhile, God is usually working behind the scenes preparing us for what is to come next.  We need to remember to not only to have faith, but to be patient.

Ecclesiastes 3:1: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”



Rev. Katrina Jenkins is the Chaplain at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.  She began her tenure there in June Prior to this, Rev. Jenkins was the Protestant Chaplain at Bentley University in Waltham, MA where she served for eleven years. She holds her MDiv for Andover Newton Theological School and a BS in Speech Communication from Syracuse University. When Rev. Katrina has spare time, she loves to read, volunteer, attend cultural events, listen to                              music, and give love to her cat Betty;


One Response to “African Violet”

  1. paul walley May 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Katrina, your blog hit home with me. My wife, Carole, was an avid gardener and she taught our family to love it too. I have fond memories of the three wildflowers gardens she planted around the campus ministry
    center ~ once I saw her working outside in the pouring rain! She loved it.
    Thanks for sharing your experience and the beautiful photo of you!

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